8/28/11 1 Timothy 4:4-5
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
SOMETHING FOR NOTHING MEANS ____________
1 Timothy 4:4-5
Paul had warned the Christian leaders in Ephesus that misleading teachers would invade their groups (Acts 20:28–31). That is exactly what had happened. The Holy Spirit had spoken specifically about these con artists, and kept His unbroken record of total reliability. It comes as a shock to some people that Satan uses professed Christians in church groups as accomplices in his work. But Satan once used Peter to try to lead Jesus on a wrong path (Matt. 16:21–23). He used Ananias and Sapphira to try to fool Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 5). We can see the same kind of people at work in churches today.
How does the Spirit clearly say things (4:1)?
Peter, James, John, and Jude, as well as Paul, use phrases like “later times” (4:1), “last days,” or “last hours” (see 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:18).
When are “the later times” (4:1)?
Gnostics developed as a religion around the same time as Christian groups were forming during Paul’s time. They claimed special contact with the spirit world. The “insider information” Gnostics claimed disagreed with Bible truth.
What was really behind Paul’s concern for misleading teachers (4:1-2)?
You find Paul dealing with these same abuses in his letter to the Colossians 2:8–23. Gnostics claimed that anything outside the spirit world was bad. They taught that the less contact we have with the evil physical creation, the better. Gnostics figured that unmarried living was more spiritual than married life, which is contrary to Scripture. They also taught that certain foods were taboo. If you ate them, you were not spiritual. Their authority to dictate diets gave them power over their converts.
What’s wrong with abstinence (4:3-4)?
Jesus declared all foods are acceptable (Mark 7:14–23). He taught this again to Peter (Acts 10), and reaffirmed it through Paul (1 Corinthians 10:23–33). A person may not be able to eat certain foods for physical reasons (an allergy, for example), but we shouldn’t reject any kind of food for religious reasons. “You will know them by what they produce,” Jesus predicted in Matthew 7:15–20. The kind of fakers Paul and his Christian friends encountered know better. They told gullible people what to do, but they do not do it themselves.
Why is it hypocritical to preach abstinence from marriage and certain foods (4:3-5; see Mark 7:18-19)?
Jewish people had standard table prayers that they used at each meal, like “Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam...” which means, "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe..." They credited God for “creating” the fruit of the vine. They used another table blessing, around the early second century, that stated “God is good and does good.”
Why do the things God created turn on us so frequently?
Would you call what Job said after his near record disastrous day a blessing (Job 1:21)? Why or why not? What about David’s response after his newborn child from Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:15-23)?
What kind of quality control device is in effect to insure that, when the blessings of life backfire, it will always turn out good?
Do you thank God for your food before you eat it? There is good reason for doing it. Our compassionate Savior takes the time and devotes the effort to use all sorts of things He’s created to supply the basic needs of people. He also teaches us to do the same thing.
1. Why do we call our meal prayers “blessings? Is God blessing us, or are we blessing Him for what He gives?
2. What kinds of things do we hesitate to bless God for giving us?
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 14:13-21? What’s the connection to Genesis 41:41-49?